High waters in the streetNow that spring is here, it isn’t long until Floridians must start preparing for hurricane season. Though the official season does not start until June, hurricane-like weather can beckon the Stuart area at any time. These conditions might create storm surge, which is a deadly flooding scenario. One of the only ways to protect your property from storm surge damage is to invest in property insurance. However, not just any homeowners insurance policy will do. Instead, you’ll probably need flood insurance. Here’s why.

What is Storm Surge?

The NOAA National Ocean Service defines storm surge as a sudden rise in sea levels due to changes in weather. Conditions like atmospheric pressure, precipitation and wind speed might interact to cause sea levels to rise. The rises usually occur near the shoreline, and the water then sweeps inland. The storm surge can last for a significant amount of time. While it lasts, if can create very severe flooding. Usually, it can take up to several days for storm surge flooding to recede.

Damage Risks of Storm Surge

Storm surge flooding is often hard to predict. Though meteorologists can guess how high water will rise, there is no perfect way to determine where it will go. Therefore, even if your home has never faced storm surge before, it doesn’t mean it can’t.

When flooding occurs, it might cause:

  • Damage the home’s exterior and foundation
  • Water damage to the home’s interior, furnishings and your possessions
  • Ground shifts, sinkholes and landslides
  • Mold growth and pest invasions inside the home
  • An increased risk of looting and vandalism if owners evacuate the property

Given the severity of these occurrences, the costs of storm surge damage might prove extremely high. Therefore, you might wonder if your homeowners insurance will cover these damages. However, unless you have specific flood insurance you might not have recourse.

Flood Insurance for Storm Surge

You likely carry homeowners insurance. Your policy will usually cover damage from a variety of hurricane-related events. However, most weather-related floods will not have coverage under a standard homeowners policy.

To get coverage for such water damage, you therefore will likely need to invest in flood insurance. Flood insurance will usually apply to most variety of weather-related water damage. Therefore, storm surge will usually have coverage under this policy.

Keep in mind, all flood insurance policies will have limits and exclusions. For example, storm surge that damages your basement likely won’t have coverage. Basements are low-lying areas; therefore, most policies won’t cover all the items within them.

So, because there is always the risk of a hurricane in Stuart or Tequesta, make sure you have flood insurance. Your policy can help you at times when you cannot control the flow of water.

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